We each have our favorite thing to pair with beer: burgers, sports, pizza, Netflix. Rural Hill’s North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival boasts one of the most popular pairings of all: beer and live music.
“The two aren’t difficult to marry,” says Rural Hill Executive Director Jeff Fissel of the festival’s two focuses. “If you’re someone who loves listening to music or having a beer chances are you love the other.”
Back for its sixth year May 6-7, NCBMF boasts a lineup of music rooted in bluegrass. The addition of a second stage focused on singer/songwriters expands the offerings to a total of 15 acts.
Attendees of traditional beer festivals will quickly notice aspects that make NCBMF completely unique. Rather than a several hour-long sprint through beer tasting tents, the unlimited tasting portion of the day is just the beginning.
Fissel recommends bringing camping chairs, blankets and everything you need to set up a home base for the day. Even pop-up tents are fair game. From there, the entire day can be dedicated to browsing beer vendors, food trucks, art and taking in the music.
The location itself sets the tone for a different kind of beer festival. The 265-acre Rural Hill is a historic site, nature preserve and farm that offers
educational programming and cultural events throughout the year. Many beer festivals tout philanthropic ties but NCBMF is operated directly by the non-profit it benefits and you have the chance to see it on full display as you enjoy the day.
For campers, the festival opens Friday evening with three bands and a craft beer station before waking up to yoga Saturday morning and beginning the main festival day. Music Saturday begins at 11:45 AM (check out the entire schedule here) with unlimited beer samples from 12:45 – 4 PM. Craft beer will be available after the sampling session for purchase to enjoy as the music continues until 10 PM.
The tasting session focuses on North Carolina brewers and includes those like NoDa Brewing Company, who has participated all six years, and those newer to the scene like Legion Brewing and Newgrass Brewing Co (check out the full list here).
Upon entry, you’ll receive a ballot with your program to vote for the “Brewer of the Year.” Past winners have included Ass Clown Brewing Company, NoDa, and two-time winner Free Range Brewing. Last year’s Brewer of the Year, Primal Brewery, will return to NCBMF to defend their title. The 2015 win was a full-circle moment for Primal as they’d started the conversation about founding their own brewery right at NCBMF years before.
If you haven’t yet secured your tickets there are some still available, but don’t wait until the last minute and let them sell out! Grab them here now and say “hi” to our entire Cheers Charlotte crew when you’re there!
Blog brought to you in partnership with North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival.